Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The problem with Ongata Town ....:)

Ongata Town on Google Maps

I start with a disclaimer: I'm not an expert on urban planning but I bet I can share my experience.

Basic info

As per the information on Wikipedia, Ongata Town had a population of 40,178 as at 2009 census. If you take a rough population growth rate of 30% per annum for this town, that will translate to a total of approximately 250,000 (0.25 million) as at 2016. But I think this population is much higher than this. Anybody with more accurate info on this?


Been staying in Ongata Rongai environs in the last couple of months and noted something queer, maybe it is so clear to me, as a visitor than the 'locals' who might not notice anything funny with this little 'diaspora town'; as 'Nairobians' would like to refer derogatively to this town in the larger former expansive Rift Valley Province!

Roads are really in a poor state. There are no stages for matatus and hence these characters drop and pick passengers in the middle of the road and hence the very presence of daily jams, Monday to Sunday, Sunday to Monday - all hours of the day. Traffic policemen are forced to be on the road all these days, unlike most roads where traffic policemen are not really needed on days like weekends.

If you want to have a really taste of the poor road infrastructure, just go past the main Magadi Road, which cuts right through the town, it is the only tarmacked area in the town! Other roads behind Magadi-Road-facing buildings, are not only not tarmacked but they are not passable; it is like some unwritten rule like those roads are only meant for 4X4 SUVs. The pot holes are huge, they literally swallow and vomit your car, not to the road, but to a ditch!

I can't completely comprehend why the County government cannot dedicate some few resources to create some sanity in this wonderful town, which I believe must be generating a lot of revenue in the whole county; in my approximate imagination, it can only come second to Kitengela.

What to fix

My plea to the County government is to improve Ongata town by carrying out the following activities, in order of priority and urgency:

  1. Bus stops for matatus and buses: start by constructing stages for these vehicles. Surely we cannot blame them for creating jam;  people need to alight and  others to board, indeed, it is not their problem, it is the people's problem - those boarding and alighting! 
  2. Tuskys Bus Stop: this being the main stage for all motor vehicles, improve on its status. Also, deploy your county askaris to man it - create some order, of vehicles coming in and going out - have one exit and one entry unlike the current madness where vehicles park where they want, and exit using any route. Have clear markings on this stage.
  3. 'Back streets status': improve on the status of roads bringing people to the town and also connecting buildings in the town, the only road I've so far seen in a better state is the one in front of the main Tuskys Supermarket. At least fill them up with even murram - make them all-weather - not necessarily to tarmack them, although that can be appreciated big time :)
  4. Garbage collection: Have better arrangements for garbage collection, the town is not yet in stinking status but left to its whims, this can be the worst nightmare. The strategy for this should include the town itself and its environs.
  5. Water provision: Is there piped water managed by the County government? I've no idea. Since water is life, manage this key resource. I've water in my house although I don't get it from the county government. Water is a key resource to be left in the hands of private investors.
  6. Connecting roads: the road between Kiserian Town and Ngong Town must be the the worst road I've driven in a long while. The road is riddled with pot holes, every few centimeters of the road is covered in potholes. Really? In this age and time? 
          The Pipeline Road is not  in a very good state either, but it is better than the Kiserian-Ngong               one. Fix it.Additionally, tarmac the road passing through Gataka - it will ease the jam on the               main Magadi Road, or at least make it motorable! If in a good condition, more people will                   prefer it - since it is a short cut to vehicular traffic heading to Kiserian.

Those are my thoughts for now and I believe that I'll be able to communicate more as I keep discovering this wonderful town.